Artus Cimber (pronounced: /ˈɑːrtʌs ˈsɪmbɛrAR-tus SIM-ber[14]) was an adventurer and a former Harper, who became the keeper of the Ring of Winter, and was the youngest son of the highwayman known as Shadowhawk.[13]

If the Ring of Winter had been his life's quest, why was the Harpers' symbol the true heart of the pattern?
— Artus Cimber's epiphany during Ubtao's test.[15]

Description[edit | edit source]

As a young child, Artus was scrawny with dark brown eyes.[5]

Through his long adventuring career, Artus earned many scars of various shapes and sizes that covered his back and stomach, including the scars left by the Zhent torturers. When Artus settled in Chult, he was gifted a lightweight lush green hooded tunic, perfect for the hot and humid climate of the jungle. The tunic was adorned with the crest of Theron Silvermace's family that clashed with its green color. The crest depicted a diving falcon and a silver mace. The tunic became Artus' favorite outfit to survive his adventures in the jungles.[16]

Due to the immortality granted by the Ring of Winter, Artus kept his looks and charm throughout his life. Artus was a tall and strikingly handsome man of lithe build. He often wore leathers, hoods, and cloaks to help him keep a low profile, as well as leather gloves to hide the Ring of Winter and the tattoos of the names of his dearly departed animal companions—a pair of talking wombats named Byrt and Lugg—on his fingers above his knuckles.[7]

Personality[edit | edit source]

Unlike his brother Oric, Artus was intelligent and observant.[13]

Artus was passionate about the preservation of knowledge and history, especially if it pertained to Chult, where he'd spent most of his life with Alisanda. Since the disappearance of Mezro and his wife, Artus longed to be reunited with her again. He sought the oracle of Orolunga, Saja N'baza, and scoured through ruins trying to finally find the answer on how to bring about their return.[7]

Throughout his years of being hunted for the Ring of Winter, Artus learned to be slow to trust strangers, adventurers in particular. He tended to keep quiet, and disliked when his presence drew negative or unnecessary attention to him and his traveling companions.[7]

Relationships[edit | edit source]

Zintermi, a cleric of House of Oghma in Suzail, was Artus' old trusted friend and a teacher during his earlier days. Zintermi instilled the adventuring spirit as well as love for lore and archeology into the young man. The two men had mutual respect respected and often took teasing joking jabs at each other.[17]

Along with his old Harper friend, Hydel Pontifax, Artus was a member of the Society of Stalwart Adventurers of Suzail. A thousand year old adventuring guild. He often had trouble with the younger generation of adventurers who entered the guild because fo their money and noble status instead of merit. He called them "Warts" as opposed to the other members who were referred to as "Stalwarts".[18]

Artus Cimber was a recognized archeologist and explorer who was awarded with a medal from king Azoun Obarskyr IV sometime before 1362 DR for the adventurer's contributions in the field of Cormyrian history.[19]

Artus sired a misbegotten son, Sirac, who later emigrated to Icewind Dale.[12]

Possessions[edit | edit source]

Artus Cimber and his bow.

When Artus was a boy, he wore a threadbare tunic and breeches.[5]

As an adult, Artus Cimber rented a small apartment, two rooms in an attic with one tiny window of a building near Suzail's port. The rooms were above a fletcher's store that belonged to Artus' landlord Razor John. The apartment was messy and drowning in clutter of books, scrolls, letters, trinkets from his adventures, ancient and foreign coins, and figurines of forgotten gods and heroes.[19]

Artus was the keeper of the Ring of Winter, an ancient sentient artifact of Auril, the evil goddess of ice.[20] The Ring craved destruction and tried to take control of anyone who wore it. The Ring granted its keeper immortality, protection from any kind of scrying or detection magic, cold immunity, and control over ice and snow, including dropping temperatures to around −30 degrees Fahrenheit, casting icy versions of powerful spells like a Bigby's hand, wall of ice, spike growth, ice storm, sleet storm, flesh to ice, cone of cold, Otiluke's freezing sphere, and even creating weapons and living creatures made from ice.[7][21]

Artus also wielded his trusty +3 dagger, Bookmark. Artus could use Bookmark like a torch (by shedding bright light from the sapphire set into its pommel) or a compass (by floating the dagger in his palm with the tip always pointing north). Bookmark could also be used to cast dimension door and a compulsion spell to control spiders.[7]

Upon his arrival to Chult, Artus was gifted a masterfully crafted longbow from the Evereska. The bow was sturdy enough to be used as a bludgeoning weapon if a need arose.[16] Another gifted magical item was a woven light-weight green tunic that kept Artus cool in the sweltering jungles and was not soiled by his sweat.[22]

Among more mundane items in his possession, Artus owned a copper dagger, an elegant dark blade, perfect for stealthy use, a hunting knife of Chultan wild dwarves making, and a luck blade, enchanted with good fortune. He also owned several enchanted and regular quivers, one made out of hard leather, a Quiver of Ehlonna with the goddess' crest, a fanciful quiver trimmed in gold, a magical sapphire-studded one, and the Bag of Nails magical quiver named after its mad owner, Bag of Nails.[20] Apart from the Evereskan longbow, Artus also owned a bow crafted out of driftwood, flexible weapon that lacked power, a Tabaxi tribal savage bow of dark wood and decorated with tribal leathers and feathers, a yuan-ti malison longbow lifted from the snake-people, an enchanted Oathbow, and a powerful dragon bow, imbued with Chultan dragons' spirits.[20]

Underneath his green magical tunic, Artus wore one of the following armors: a simple leather armor, a studded leather of Chultan make, a velociraptor hide armor, a masterfully-forged mithral shirt, or his powerfully enchanted efreeti chain.[20]

History[edit | edit source]

Artus Cimber circa 1480s DR.

When Artus was five, his father Scoril Cimber the Shadowhawk tried to teach him the fine arts of banditry in 1333 DR.[23] In Uktar,[13] 1335 DR,[24][25] while training his son, Scoril and Artus saved Prince Azoun from Zhent assassins on the road south of Waymoot toward the hamlet of Irath.[24]

One day, Scoril Cimber robbed a caravan Oghma's scholars. He was so impressed with vis victims' politeness and knowledge, Shadowhawk pledged to himself to use the money stolen to enroll Artus into the school of the god of knowledge. Later in life, Artus suspected that his teachers always knew about that.[26]

Circa 1340 DR, Artus Cimber enrolled in the House of Oghma as a student at the behest of his mother who was hoping for a career in teaching or scribing.[10] There he fell in love with subjects of history, lore, and archeology under Zintermi's tutelage. By the end of his studying, it was clear that Artus' calling laid elsewhere, outside of the scholar chambers of the House of Oghma. Artus lacked the discipline that was required for being a teacher and a scholar.[27]

Artus felt conflicted over his father's vocation on the account of the bandit taking from the rich and giving to the poor. Scoril's banditry also paid for Artus' education in full with the House of Oghma.[26]

While still with Oghma's temple, at only twenty years old, Artus often snuck away from school to help his aging highwayman father, the notorious Shadowhawk. With his aging reflexes, Scoril was getting caught too often with no-one but his son to rescue him. One such breakout was from dungeons of Surd, where the local lord wanted to leverage the notorious bandit for the Cormyrian Crown's goodwill. Artus kept his father's identity and activities a secret from everyone at the temple of Oghma, with only his wife Nanda knowing the family secret. Artus was only married to her for a few months shortly after he turned twenty winters old. The whirlwind romance came at disapproval by both Artus's parents and Nanda's guardian. However, the marriage did not last. Artus found Nanda's secret devotion to Loviatar out, and soon after, the bride left him for good.[11]

Soon after finishing his studies, Artus Cimber joined the Harpers in his drive to better the world. His new family channeled Artus' youthful energy and drive into short-term missions, such as clearing roads to Hilp off orc cutthroats, protecting politicians in the Dalelands from Zhentarim assassination attempts.[10]

Atras parted ways with the Harpers after growing disillusioned with their strategies and idealism five years after joining. He was tasked with investigating activities of the Zhent agent, Eregul the Freestave. Artus witnessed Eregul murdering an innocent man. When the Harpers were faced with taking action against the villain, they stayed put, not wanting to trigger an open conflict with Zhentil Keep. Artus angrily stormed out of the Harpers meeting in Shadowdale and never returned.[28]

Atrus Cimber's first expedition to Chult

Circa 1350 DR, in his adventures, Artus Cimber accumulated lore on the legendary item of unspeakable power, the Ring of Winter. He concluded that the item was not simple legends but a real and achievable goal. He embarked on the quest to find the ring with Hydel Pontifax's approval and aid. The adventurers sought the ring, hoping it would let them right all the wrongs in the world, all the wrongs that his fellow Harpers could not or did not want to face. This quest lasted for the next decade.[29]

By 1359 DR, Pontifax became less eager to pursue the ring. He was wary that the so-called curse, which ended many quests for the ring before, befell the adventurers. They faced numerous misfortunes during the following three years. The duo faced adversaries such as ravenous undead halflings in Thay, frost giants debacle outside of the Zhentil Keep, and last but not least, murder charges in Tantras.[29]

On Marpenoth 5, 1357 DR, Artus and Hydel Pontifax were able to bring another villain to justice. Kaverin Ebonhand, one of the members of the Cult of Frost and another seeker of the Ring of the Winter, was convicted of murder in Tantras. Due to a legal loophole, only the people under Kaverin's command were executed for the crime, while the leader was sentenced to have his hands cut off. Immediately after the deed was done, Kaverin's lawyer and a wizard pressed to blocks of magical ebony stone to the stumps, creating prosthetic hands, fully functional and realistic, apart from the jet black color. Soon after, Kaverin Ebonhand was free.[30] Artus and Pontifax continued pursuing the villain as he rose to the top of the Cult of Frost. By 1360 DR[31], the duo caught up with him and Ebonhand was killed by Hydel Pontifax' lightning bolt. The adventurers fled Tantras following that battle, knowing that they were considered murderers by the law. But even death could not stop Kaverin Ebonhand's villainy.[32]

In 1362 DR,[33] Artus and his trusted adventuring companion Pontifax traveled to the Stonelands on an expedition to uncover ancient Mulhorandi treasures in the ruins of a once-grand keep.[31] There, Artus touched a mysterious statue and was bound to a seemingly cursed necklace that he was unable to remove from his neck. Soon after returning home to Suzail, Artus, with the help of another old friend, Zintermi, discovered that the magic amulet on his neck held a four-armed guardian phantom of sorts, named Skuld. Of course, Pontifax believed that this latest misfortune was part of the curse that fell on the seekers of the ring of winter.[34]

The map drawn by Artus Cimber in 1363 DR, detailing his travel through Chult.

During Artus' visit to the Society of Stalwart Adventurers club to report on the latest venture, one of the younger members, Ariast, made dismissively rude comments about a friend of Artus who, apparently just returned from his expedition to Chult, and suffered mentally from the horrors he survived. Artus made a snarky comment back at her, and Ariast decided to pay him back with a harmless but humiliating cantrip. This cantrip provoked Artus' new guardian spirit Skuld. The four-armed creature appeared and attacked the young adventurer by crushing her hands. However unintentional it was, this altercation cost Artus and Pontifax the lion's share of the recent expedition's profit, as the guild fined them.[35] Artus rushed to Theron Silvermace's side as the Chultan expedition brought back invaluable intel on the location of the Ring of Winter. Theron told Cimber about ben captured and tortured by the Batiri and being rescued by Dhalmass Rayburton, one of the founders of the Stalwarts who would've been dead centuries ago. And Dhalmass allegedly was using the Ring of Winter's magic.[36]

Without wasting any time, Artus and Hydel Pontifax left Suzail the same evening and on griffons' backs headed out to the port of Baldur's Gate to find a passage to Chult.[28] The adventurers found passage onboard of the Narwhal, a galleon under command of beautiful but terrifying captain Bawr of the Refuge Bay Trading Company. Unbeknownst to Artus and Pontifax, the ship also was transporting Kaverin Ebonhand and his Mulhorandi wizard lackey Phyrra al-Quim. During the voyage, Kaverin bribed the ship's first mate Quiracus to steal Artus Cimber's journal and attempt to murder the adventurer. Close to the shores of Chult, the assassination attempt happened during the conflict with Aremag, a greedy dragon turtle that was extorting additional payments from captain Bawr. Quiracus misled Cimber to believe the adventurer was to be present on deck for the draconic negotiation. This infuriated the captain, and she ordered Artus to be fed to Aremag. Of course, the amulet on Cimber's neck summoned Skuld to defend its owner. The silver phantom tossed the captain overboard straight into the turtle's maw and aided the pirates of the Narwhal in fending the dragon off. During the commission, Quiracus was able to plaster Artis' amulet with Mulhorandi parchment that deactivated the artifact.[37]

Soon after, the Narwhal reached the Refuge Bay and Port Castigliar. Artus and Pontifax met with a fellow Harper agent and the local general goods store's proprietor, Ibn Engaruka. The local Harper passed long a gift from Theron Silvermace, left for Artus, who was sure to follow his footsteps into Chult. Ibn informed the adventurers that the only guide in Port Castigliar just left for the jungle with two passengers from the Narwhal, a man with stone hands and a female wizard. Unable to proceed without a guide, Artus and Pontifax accepted another of Theron Silvermace's gifts, a feast, before heading out into the jungle. The following night, Artus and Pontifax were attacked by three ice golems of Kaverin Ebonhand. one of the cold assassins murdered Pontifax, Artus's oldest friend and father figure.[38] Drowning in grief and palm wine, Cimber plummeted into depression, unable to continue for the next five days.[39]

Eventually, Artus discovered the Ring of Winter in ruins deep within the treacherous jungles of Chult, and used its powers to help Alisanda and the forces of Mezro repel the likes of the Eshowe,[40] and later the undead hordes of Ras Nsi.[citation needed]

The only way for Artus to escape the barado once he'd entered would be to pass Ubtao's test. If he succeeded, he would be the new bara of Mezro - and have the Ring of Winter. If he failed, Ubtao would kill him. At the moment, Ras T'fima wasn't certain which would be worse for the city.
— Ras T'fima's thoughts on Artus Cimber and the Ring of Winter.[41]

Sometime after the Spellplague of 1385 DR and the disappearance of Mezro, Artus was made a Chosen by Auril.[42] Much of Artus's later life was spent in just trying to prevent the Ring of Winter falling into the clutches of evil. However, he returned to Chult with the aim of reuniting with Alisanda, following her disappearance and that of the city of Mezro. Unwilling to wait, he looked for a way of restoring them. To that end, he searched for Saja N'baza, the ancient oracle of Orolunga. After meeting Dragonbait, a saurial warrior dedicated to good, in Port Nyanzaru, the pair made it their quest to travel to the ruins of Orolunga in hopes of finding a way to reunite Artus with Alisanda.[7]


Appendix[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

In 1993, The Code of the Harpers sourcebook stated Artus as being neutral good and possibly a bard.[1] In the 1996 Heroes' Lorebook sourcebook, Artus was chaotic good and given the class of fighter.[6] His 5th Edition statistics restore his Neutral Good alignment as well as his bard class (he lacks bard spells but his saving throw proficiencies are the same as a bard).

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Adventures
Tomb of AnnihilationStorm King's Thunder
Novels
The Ring of WinterRealms of Valor: "The Family Business" • Realms of Mystery: "The Club Rules"
Referenced only
Once Around the Realms
Video Games
NeverwinterIdle Champions of the Forgotten RealmsTales from Candlekeep: Tomb of Annihilation
Card Games
AD&D Trading Cards
Board Games
Tomb of Annihilation Board Game

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Ed Greenwood (1993). The Code of the Harpers. (TSR, Inc), p. 54. ISBN 1-56076-644-1.
  2. James Lowder (November 1992). The Ring of Winter. (TSR, Inc), chap. 3, pp. 53–55. ISBN 978-1560763307.
  3. James Lowder (November 1992). The Ring of Winter. (TSR, Inc), chap. 13, p. 231. ISBN 978-1560763307.
  4. James Lowder (February 1993). “The Family Business”. Realms of Valor (TSR, Inc), pp. 218–219. ISBN 1-56076-557-7.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 James Lowder (February 1993). “The Family Business”. Realms of Valor (TSR, Inc), p. 217. ISBN 1-56076-557-7.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Dale Donovan, Paul Culotta (August 1996). Heroes' Lorebook. (TSR, Inc), p. 18. ISBN 0-7869-0412-7.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 7.8 Christopher Perkins, Will Doyle, Steve Winter (September 19, 2017). Tomb of Annihilation. Edited by Michele Carter, Scott Fitzgerald Gray. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 212–213. ISBN 978-0-7869-6610-3.
  8. James Lowder (November 1992). The Ring of Winter. (TSR, Inc), chap. 11, p. 198. ISBN 978-1560763307.
  9. James Lowder (November 1992). The Ring of Winter. (TSR, Inc), chap. 9, p. 169. ISBN 978-1560763307.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 James Lowder (November 1992). The Ring of Winter. (TSR, Inc), chap. 2, p. 41. ISBN 978-1560763307.
  11. 11.0 11.1 James Lowder (November 1992). The Ring of Winter. (TSR, Inc), chap. 9, p. 164. ISBN 978-1560763307.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Christopher Perkins (September 6, 2016). Storm King's Thunder. Edited by Kim Mohan, Michele Carter. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 39. ISBN 978-0786966004.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 James Lowder (February 1993). “The Family Business”. Realms of Valor (TSR, Inc), p. 219. ISBN 1-56076-557-7.
  14. Christopher Perkins, Will Doyle, Steve Winter (September 19, 2017). Tomb of Annihilation. Edited by Michele Carter, Scott Fitzgerald Gray. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 4. ISBN 978-0-7869-6610-3.
  15. James Lowder (November 1992). The Ring of Winter. (TSR, Inc), chap. 16, p. 285. ISBN 978-1560763307.
  16. 16.0 16.1 James Lowder (November 1992). The Ring of Winter. (TSR, Inc), chap. 5, p. 92. ISBN 978-1560763307.
  17. James Lowder (November 1992). The Ring of Winter. (TSR, Inc), chap. 1, p. 13. ISBN 978-1560763307.
  18. James Lowder (November 1992). The Ring of Winter. (TSR, Inc), chap. 1, p. 28. ISBN 978-1560763307.
  19. 19.0 19.1 James Lowder (November 1992). The Ring of Winter. (TSR, Inc), p. 309. ISBN 978-1560763307.
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 BKOM Studios (2017). Tales from Candlekeep: Tomb of Annihilation.
  21. Christopher Perkins, Will Doyle, Steve Winter (September 19, 2017). Tomb of Annihilation. Edited by Michele Carter, Scott Fitzgerald Gray. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 207–208. ISBN 978-0-7869-6610-3.
  22. James Lowder (November 1992). The Ring of Winter. (TSR, Inc), p. 106. ISBN 978-1560763307.
  23. James Lowder (February 1993). “The Family Business”. Realms of Valor (TSR, Inc), p. 220. ISBN 1-56076-557-7.
  24. 24.0 24.1 James Lowder (February 1993). “The Family Business”. Realms of Valor (TSR, Inc), p. 241. ISBN 1-56076-557-7.
  25. Brian R. James, Ed Greenwood (September 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. Edited by Kim Mohan, Penny Williams. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 137. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  26. 26.0 26.1 James Lowder (November 1992). The Ring of Winter. (TSR, Inc), chap. 10, p. 181. ISBN 978-1560763307.
  27. James Lowder (November 1992). The Ring of Winter. (TSR, Inc), chap. 1, p. 14. ISBN 978-1560763307.
  28. 28.0 28.1 James Lowder (November 1992). The Ring of Winter. (TSR, Inc), chap. 2, pp. 41–47. ISBN 978-1560763307.
  29. 29.0 29.1 James Lowder (November 1992). The Ring of Winter. (TSR, Inc), chap. 1, p. 15. ISBN 978-1560763307.
  30. James Lowder (November 1992). The Ring of Winter. (TSR, Inc), chap. 4, pp. 77–78. ISBN 978-1560763307.
  31. 31.0 31.1 James Lowder (November 1992). The Ring of Winter. (TSR, Inc), p. 9. ISBN 978-1560763307.
  32. James Lowder (November 1992). The Ring of Winter. (TSR, Inc), chap. 5, pp. 92–93. ISBN 978-1560763307.
  33. Ed Greenwood; Eric L. Boyd, Steven E. Schend (2000). Presenting...Seven Millennia of Realms Fiction. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2015-08-12.
  34. James Lowder (November 1992). The Ring of Winter. (TSR, Inc), chap. 1, p. 16. ISBN 978-1560763307.
  35. James Lowder (November 1992). The Ring of Winter. (TSR, Inc), chap. 1, pp. 29–30. ISBN 978-1560763307.
  36. James Lowder (November 1992). The Ring of Winter. (TSR, Inc), chap. 2, pp. 35–39. ISBN 978-1560763307.
  37. James Lowder (November 1992). The Ring of Winter. (TSR, Inc), p. 4. ISBN 978-1560763307.
  38. James Lowder (November 1992). The Ring of Winter. (TSR, Inc), p. 5. ISBN 978-1560763307.
  39. James Lowder (November 1992). The Ring of Winter. (TSR, Inc), chap. 6, pp. 98–99. ISBN 978-1560763307.
  40. James Lowder (November 1992). The Ring of Winter. (TSR, Inc), chap. 17, p. 307. ISBN 978-1560763307.
  41. James Lowder (November 1992). The Ring of Winter. (TSR, Inc), chap. 15, p. 280. ISBN 978-1560763307.
  42. Brian R. James (September 2008). “Realmslore: Hall of the Frostmaiden”. In Chris Youngs ed. Dragon #367 (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 58–62.
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